All my life, I have been dreaming of owning an Indian motorcycle. What an amazing American icon?
The Indian Motorcycle company was one of the U.S.'s first motorcycle companies, starting life in 1901 under the name of The Hendee Manufacturing Company located in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Founders George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom were on the right track early on. Sales peaked at 32,000 units in 1913. The Indian Scout model was introduced in 1920 with a whopping 600 cc engine. Huge motor for the time. The Scout was built continuously until 1949. Cubic inches were increased to 750 cc in 1928.
The iconic Indian Chief motorcycle was introduced in 1922. It came to market with a 1,000 cc (61 cubic inches) and then a 1,200 cc engine (73 cubic inches). Big time power in the 1920s. The company's name was later changed to Indian Motorcycles in 1928.
At one point, the Indian Motorcycle was on of the world's best selling motorcycles.
The Indian brand thrived until the 1940s but ran into major mismanagement in the early 1950s and was out of business in 1953. Check out motorcycle bikes history on Wikipedia.
Here's a newer version of the Indian Chief. This version manufactured by the Polaris Team.
Several successor companies have perpetuated the name over the past decades, with limited to no success. In 2011, Polaris Industries bought Indian Motorcycles from London-based Stellican company and relocated manufacturing operations from North Carolina, merging them with Polaris facilities in Minnesota and Iowa. The resulting 2013 Indian Chief model is a real beauty. Go to Indian's new website for more information.
Note the large skirted fenders...a true Indian trademark making the bike look darnright handsome. Test rides of this bike show it to be very smooth and comfortable.
2013 INDIAN CHIEF VINTAGE
Today, the Indian motorcycle brand is manufactured in limited numbers for the well-heeled motorcycle enthusiast who can afford its hefty price tag. Around $30,000 give or take a few thousand dollars. The focus is on exclusivity rather than performance...and an exclusive beauty it is. Check out this 2013 Indian Chief Vintage below.
Today's Indian models run with the PowerPlus V-Twin motor with electronic closed-loop sequential-port fuel injection. The engine is a redesigned 105 cubic inch (1,720 cc) powerhouse.
Between 1962 and 1967, speed racing hero, Burt Munro from New Zealand used a modified 1920s Indian Scout to set a number of land speed records at the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats. His racing exploits were made even more famous in 2005 by the film, The World's Fastest Indian. The movie, by Roger Donaldson, is one of my favorite motorcycle movies of all time. It stars Academy Award winner, Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro. Highly recommend you see it.
Ride Safe Out There.
Replica of Burt Munroe's motorcycle trailer. Displayed at Bonneville 2011.
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